NCAA March Madness: Kansas State vs. Montana State betting preview, odds and predictions
In the 3 vs. 14 matchup in the East region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, Kansas State faces Montana State with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch Kansas State vs. Montana State
When: Friday, 9:40 p.m. ET
Where: Greensboro, North Carolina
Odds for Kansas State vs. Montana State
Spread: Kansas State -8.5
(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
East Region No. 3 Seed Kansas State
Kansas State beat some very good teams this season, as the Wildcats scored wins over the Texas Longhorns, Baylor Bears and Kansas Jayhawks during the regular season. This Kansas State team is elite on the defensive end, but it’s also tricky to stop on offense. The Wildcats play at a relatively fast pace and have two really impressive offensive players in Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell. Johnson came over from the Florida Gators, who he was excellent for in his sophomore season. And Nowell is one of the best point guards in the nation, and he gives his team a chance to win any close game. The Wildcats will just need somebody to step up and be the third option in the tournament. Keep an eye on do-it-all forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin, who has the talent to break out in March.
East Region No. 14 Seed Montana State
The Bobcats have won 20 games in back-to-back seasons. Before that, they hadn't won 20 or more games since the 2001-02 season. This team is ranked fifth in the entire nation in free throw rate, so they have the ability to get to the free throw line. They're also a top-70 team when it comes to defensive efficiency. so they won't be easy to score on. The issue with Montana State is that the team is miserable when it comes to rebounding. The team also got decimated by high-level competition early in the year. It'll take a Herculean effort from RaeQuan Battle for Montana State to do any damage this tournament.
Kansas State vs. Montana State matchup analysis
The bar is pretty low for Montana State’s fifth NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bobcats were a 14 seed last season and lost by 35 points to Texas Tech. It was their first time at the Big Dance since 1996 when they lost to Syracuse by 33 points. This is the best Bobcats bunch that Danny Sprinkle has had in his four seasons in Bozeman and a much better defensive team than last year’s version.
The Bobcats were a 37% team from 3 last season and this year’s group is only shooting 32%, so the upset potential seems to be a little light, but last year’s team gave up 1.425 points per possession to the Red Raiders. This year’s team is much stouter at the rim and more adept at forcing turnovers. Kansas State does turn the ball over at a 20% rate on offense. If Montana State can avoid giving up second-chance points, they’ll have a shot to keep the game close.
With any low-major conference champ, you worry about what happens stepping up in class. Montana State went 15-1 against Quadrant IV opponents and 8-8 against Quadrant III or better opponents. The concern here with an opponent like Kansas State is that Montana State lost by 30 to Oregon and 21 to Arizona in the two Quadrant I games. That falls in line with last year’s beating at the hands of the guys from Lubbock.
Montana State is better in 2P% offense and defense than Kansas State, but it would be disingenuous to think about that without considering the vast difference in strength of schedule between these two teams. Kansas State has played the 15th-ranked slate of opponents per KenPom, while Montana State’s SOS ranks 176th.
Jerome Tang’s first season in Manhattan has gone well and this will be his team’s first game against a team outside of the top 75 per Bart Torvik since Dec. 21. One constant in Kansas State’s bad performances has been turning the ball over, so that’s what might keep this game too close for comfort for the ‘Cats.
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